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Fri Jul 18, 2014, 11:37 PM

Aaron Burr: "Had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, (I might not have dueled & killed Hamilton)"

The actual quote from Aaron Burr is this (reflecting years later on the duel which saw him shoot and kill Alexander Hamilton): ""Had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, I should have known the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me."

My knowledge of Voltaire isn't that great, and I know even less about Laurence Sterne. For those DUers who might know about Voltaire's philosophy and Sterne's literary works, what was Burr referring to?


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Reply Aaron Burr: "Had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, (I might not have dueled & killed Hamilton)" (Original post)
brentspeak Jul 2014 OP
enlightenment Jul 2014 #1
brentspeak Jul 2014 #4
hfojvt Jul 2014 #2
brentspeak Jul 2014 #5
hfojvt Jul 2014 #6
gordianot Jul 2014 #3

Response to brentspeak (Original post)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 11:58 PM

1. He was not being sincere.

The comment is a play on something Uncle Toby said to a fly in Sterne's "Tristram Shandy": "Go poor Devil, get thee gone, why should I hurt thee? — This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me."

Burr was a nasty man.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 12:49 AM

4. Yes, from all accounts, Burr wanted to kill Hamilton

And unlike Hamilton, wasn't content with deliberately not hitting his target and laying the animosity to rest.

Thanks for the info about Sterne.

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Response to brentspeak (Original post)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 12:06 AM

2. apparently reading Voltaire

made him believe some absurdities which made him commit some atrocities.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 01:08 AM

5. Jefferson was influenced by Voltaire, but without

getting carried away like Burr.

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Response to brentspeak (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 02:12 AM

6. I was poking fun at Voltaire

who wrote this “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5754446.Voltaire

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Response to brentspeak (Original post)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 12:09 AM

3. Burr would almost make Dick Cheney a statesman by comparison.

Both are/were treasonous bastards that manage to escape a noose.

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